HAPPY Sunday!

We had a really cool experience this past week! We have been trying to
get in touch with this less active lady for a while now. We met her a
little while ago, and we have been trying to teach her ever since. We
kind of forgot about her because we couldn’t ever get over there.
Randomly Elder Beazer said, “You should give her a call”. So I picked
up the phone and…. she didn’t answer. Then five minutes later she
called us back! She said, “I was just telling my sister that the
elders forgot about me… and then you called”!!! Wow. We were kind of
freaking out. It was really cool.

We had interviews with President Calderwood this week. I look up to
him so much. It is always a good time when we get the chance to talk
to him. After the interviews we had exchanges! I was able to go with
Elder Baker. He is such a humble missionary. I look up to him a lot.
We had a good time! It wasn’t very long, but we taught a young man
about the importance of the temple. It was a good lesson.

Our service project gave me some more gnarly blisters! Our task was
not easy… we had to get a tree stump out of the ground. Those things
are stubborn, let me tell you. Elder Beazer and I swung at part of it
with some axes for like twenty minutes. We did barely any damage to
it. I am guessing we will be going back to the same place to finish
our job this Wednesday. It was fun to swing an axe though. 🙂

A member took us out to eat at a Malaysian restaurant! It was mainly
all really good! Some of it was pretty interesting.. but it was mostly
delicious. They came out with these HUGE coconut shrimps. Bigger than
my fists. Those things were good.

My Birthday was a sacred day for me. So many people took care of me. I
could feel their love! Wow. It was great. Of course my mom took care
of me all the way from Utah! I was truly happy that day, and very
humbled. It was humbling to see all of these great people who are in
my life. I love Staten Island. It is a sacred place in my heart!!

We had a meeting on Friday. We talked about online proselyting. They
asked for opinions on it. I raised my hand and said that it usually
ends up being a waste of time for myself and other missionaries, so I
just avoid it now. That is why I haven’t really posted anything for a
while. Then he made a great point. Should we avoid everything just
because it can potentially be bad? Tracting isn’t always productive,
should we avoid that? Contacting isn’t very fun, should we avoid that?
We have Facebook as missionaries because The Lord wants us to have it.
So… I repented and started using it effectively the next day. 🙂 It
made me think about all of the things in life that we avoid all
together because of how hard they are. It is no excuse! Sometimes we
have to buckle down, and do the hard things in life. We can’t
selfishly avoid things in life. Sometimes you have to step up to the
plate!!

Overall, I am happy. Happy to be in New York. Happy to be on my
mission. Happy to be a member of this church. This way of living
really is the way to ultimate and lasting happiness!!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

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The Promised Land of Sri Lanka

Mom and Dad, you guys would be proud! We played up and down the river
last p-day! It was a lot of fun. Oh and we played Egyptian rat slap
too! I am getting better, so you guys should practice up.

Mutual was fun! We played capture the flag with the boys. There wasn’t
very many people who even knew how to play, I didn’t know it was a
west coast thing? I guess they typically don’t have very much space to
run around and play games like that out here in NY. We have seen some
boys starting to come to church again, and come to mutual every week!
It is cool to be a part of their re-activation.

Alright so another Sri Lankan man should be getting baptized next
week! Yay! We are really excited for him. He is a great guy. He was
another member referral. Go figure!

We had an encounter with someone who is anti-mormon… The
conversation was interesting. It got a little more heated than it
should have. Ha! It ended with him yelling at me, “You are going to
hell!!!”. Eh, it wasn’t the first time! It amazes me that so many
people think we are going to hell for our beliefs? Crazy. Just another
glorious day in NY! I love it here, but I do miss being surrounded by
people who have the same beliefs as me. Don’t take that for granted!

We had a great Saturday! We spent a lot of time down at the Staten
Island ferry. We handed out 5 gallons of free lemonade. It helps us
break the ice with people, and they are more willing to talk to us.
Our district worked super hard and we saw the blessings that came from
it! There were tons of people at church, and every investigator had
great comments during Sunday school. We were so blessed. Oh and we
taught the 5th sunday lesson on missionary work! That night we went
over to a member’s home and taught his nephew. WOW! That was like the
third time that had ever happened. We didn’t know what to do with
ourselves. Ha! Anyways, we were really blessed yesterday.

One thing that I have learned lately is that in order to become One
with The Father and The Son, we have to put Them first in every
aspect. We can’t be unified with Them if we have different goals, and
desires in life. Elder D. Todd Christofferson said something along the
lines of, “I tremble sometimes to think about what that means, but it
is a process that takes time”. Even though it may take some time, it
is a worthwhile pursuit in life. It is a scary thought to always put
God first, but I know we will be blessed for it!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

From Brooklyn to Queens!

This past week was pretty crazy.. we went on four different exchanges! I spent some time away from Staten Island. I was back in Brooklyn for one of the days. They had a really nice view from their bedroom. I fell asleep looking at the empire state building. Then one of the days was spent in Far Rockaway, Queens. Exchanges are always great. It was quite the week. 

Earlier in the week when Elder Finlinson and I were teaching a lady who was referred to us by a member. She is a devout Christian woman, and was really nice. When we started off with the lesson she loved it. She was even taking notes!! We were so shocked. We had a great discussion about Prophets, and The Savior’s earthly ministry (and Atonement), etc. She was getting into it.. until we hit the Restoration. Right when we brought up Joseph Smith, she smiled at us, and slowly closed her journal. We continued to teach her, but she didn’t really participate anymore. I eventually asked her this question, “Would you be interested in finding out for yourself if Joseph Smith was a Prophet? You can know this for yourself by reading from the Book of Mormon and asking God if it is true. We promise He will answer you.” We waited for her response… and she said no. Then at the end of the lesson I asked her another question, “If you did go through this process and receive an answer from God, telling you that this church is true. That Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and this church is the only church with His authority… would you then be baptized?”. Personally I could feel the Spirit very strongly at that moment. We waited silently for her reply…. and she said… no. We were pretty astonished at her response. It blew my mind that anyone could say no to that offer. She was really nice though!
That is the highlight of the week. There are more stories, but I don’t have the time to tell them now. There will be plenty of time to tell them all after the mission. 🙂
Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

The Greatest Game (of Chess) Ever Played!!!

It has been quite the week here on Staten Island…

We had a really great lesson with the family we are teaching! This ward really needs them to be baptized soon, because we are struggling! Right now our attendance averages about 90, and we are having three active families move out in the next two months… Oh boy. We are really praying for some miracles to happen here. The family that we are teaching did come to church though! The father has a job on Sunday but he left just to come. He even got up and bore his testimony 🙂 It was awesome. I love working with them. It is a Liberian family of 7! Great people.
Throughout the week we had some pretty hard times. I won’t go into detail, but there are a lot of people here that just aren’t very nice. Ha! It is a struggle for me right now to really love all of the people here. I always hear about people loving everyone they see on their mission, etc. To be honest though.. I don’t always feel that! It is hard to feel that for someone who is screaming at you, or threatening you. Sheesh. I can’t even imagine how The Savior did it. I think of His trial and all of the things he went through, and yet he still genuinely loved the people. I have a lot of improvement to do when it comes to charity. It is a work in progress!
We are fine, but suffice it to say.. we won’t be visiting certain less active people anymore. 🙂
We had a miracle happen yesterday!! We were looking up some people that the ward council had asked us to check on. Unfortunately the door was slammed in our face. So! We 2-2-5 it. Which means we knock the two doors to either side of the house, and the 5 across the street. That way we can still do all of our look-ups that we have to do, but we are incorporating some finding to. Anyways! We are knocking some doors and come across a Filipino family!! They were leaving, but they seemed interested (not even joking). We scheduled a return appointment and got their phone number. He said he had seen missionaries all over in the Philippines and he wanted to know what it was all about. It was a miracle. That doesn’t happen every day!
Ready for the highlight of the week? We were still checking on everyone the ward council wanted us to when we came across this guy. He was actually home and talked to us on his porch! Then he was kind enough to invite us in. Say what? I know it was another miracle. We talked to him for a while and got to know him and his family! He “used” to be a member, but was not interested AT ALL anymore. He made that pretty clear, but he was really nice to us! They fed us some food, and then he asked us “Are you allowed to play chess?” Heck yes we are. So we whip out the chess board and he plays Elder Finlinson. He is honestly beating Elder Finlinson pretty dang bad, and says “If you ever beat me, I will come to church”. Then it got a little more intense. I thought it would be pretty cool if he beat him, but I did not see that happening at all. He was down to two pawns, a queen, a bishop and his king. Things were not looking good … Then Elder Finlinson closed his eyes and said a little prayer. The other guy had like half of his pieces still… but! Next thing you know… Elder Finlinson beat him! Ha! It was one of the greatest moments of our companionship. 🙂 The guy was a great sport, and said that he would come to church. They were really awesome people.
Anyways, life is hard but that is okay. It has never been easy to be a disciple of Christ, but now is the time he needs them the most. Just gotta keep looking on the bright side of life!!
Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

Because of Him

I hope you had a great Easter!! We had a pretty exciting week. 🙂

It started on Monday!! We tried to celebrate Passover… it was
interesting. We had some lambs, bitter herbs, unleavened bread, etc.
After it was all ready we stood around the table and went over the
symbolism of it all. We made sure to have our shoes on so we could
leave at a moments notice. It seems like a great tradition right? Well
the bitter herb was… BITTER. We had green onions and just ate those
raw. It did remind us of the bitterness of slavery, that is for sure.
It did its job. Ha! Then we ate the lamb… which was so greasy. It
was not very good quality. We then chugged the grape juice, and
decided to just munch on the unleavened bread! We got the bread from a
Jewish member here. The bread was straight from Israel.. and kosher.
🙂 Anyways we came to the conclusion that it was a once in a lifetime
celebration… and I was still hungry afterwards. SO I heated up some
pork and had a glass of milk. If you know anything about Jewish law
you will know why that is funny. Haha!

passover

Then we had transfer meeting on Tuesday!!! I will be staying in Staten
Island of course, and I am fine with that! There is still a lot of
work left for me to do here. It was so hot at transfer meeting. Our
whole mission came to this one because everything got re-aligned. The
Lynbrook District became a Stake! It was the last one on the
continental U.S. and it is no longer. We now have four stakes in the
mission. The work is hastening! Because of that there was two more
zones created.. the mission is growing like crazy. It was a historic
meeting that we went to, and it even got a little sweaty in that room.
Everyone was ‘shining’. I think Yoshi took a picture of me after that
meeting, so you can see how much I was ‘glowing’ ha! I am excited for
the future of this mission though. 🙂

transfer meeting 1

 

transfer meeting2

We spent the rest of the week inviting investigators and less actives
to the Easter party that the ward was having on Saturday! The party
was great. I ate way too much food… I just can’t pass up free food.
But I did eat a little too much… it was delicious though. Then there
was Easter egg hunts for all ages. The adult one was pretty fun. You
went and found eggs, and depending on the egg you would get different
prizes. It was fun. We finally met Bro Garcia there! He was a member
that moved in from Far Rockaway. It was a miracle. The ward really
needs fully active members out here.

I loved the #BecauseofHim thing the church did all week. It was
amazing to see Facebook covered with uplifting things. Ever since I
have been on my mission I have come to know one thing… That I don’t
know very many things. One thing I do know is that Jesus Christ lives.
We have the opportunity to live with our Father in Heaven again, and
it is all because of our Savior. I may not know very many other
things, and as long as I know that simple truth.. I am okay with that.

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

Enjoying the Journey!!!

Another great week on Staten Island! We are so busy it is insane.. I
love it though. I would much rather be busy all of the time. I gave a
talk in sacrament meeting yesterday about general conference!! I am
really excited for it now. It is Super Bowl Sunday for us
missionaries!

Big news! Did you know that there is one district left on the
continental U.S.A.? (A district is basically something that is
composed of wards, but is too small to be a stake) Well did you also
know that the last district is in our mission? It won’t be a district
for much longer! In April it will be organized into a Stake! It is
pretty big news. President Calderwood has been the District President
for all of those wards, and after this is over he will have some more
time to focus on the missionaries. That man just never stops. He is
unbelievably good.

I can’t remember what happened this past week. Too much stuff is going
on. We have our zone conference this upcoming week though! I am really
excited for that. I keep a journal though so I will share stories with
you after the mission… I just don’t have the brain power right now
to recall all of these things.. Ahh 🙂

I have noticed something in a lot of people that I have met throughout
my mission. They can’t seem to find happiness. It is interesting. You
will see one missionary and he will be the happiest missionary that
you have met, and then you will meet his companion. His companion is
depressed and does not want to be there. How does that make sense?
They live the same life. They do the same things! What in the world?
Well it all goes back to the first book in the Book of Mormon. It
usually does. I think I already emailed this thought home? Oh well,
you can hear it again. Anyways! Lehi’s sons take off on an adventure.
They are all walking the same path, doing the same things, eating the
same food. Yet we see Laman and Lemuel having what seems to be the
worst time of their lives! It all came down to their attitude. They
chose to focus on all of the horrible things that were happening,
while Nephi took the opposite approach and had opposite results.
Happiness in life really is an active decision on our part. You have
to learn how to be happy in your life especially amidst the trials
that you face. President Calderwood says, “As leaders (or people) you
can NEVER have a bad day”. Learn to love everything that comes your
way. It’s worth a shot to give it a try… What have you got to lose?
Only sadness.

Elder Lee!
Come what may, and Love it!

The (Not So) lonely Island!

Greetings from Staten Island!! I was transferred to my third area this
past week. I will miss Brooklyn and all of the great people I met
there, but it is time to move on!! I was thinking about my mission
history and guess what? This is my third area and I am on my 6th
companion! Oh and did I mention that I am companions with Elder
Finlinson again? 🙂 We were stoked. I never thought that would happen,
but I am not complaining!!

It has been a crazy week. Staten is pretty much just a mix between
Brooklyn and Long Island. I like it out here! We spent some time
getting to know the members of the ward. They are all awesome people.
I love the ward already.

We had two lessons with one of their investigators! Raneesha. He is
from Sri Lanka! He is going to be baptized this month and we are doing
our best to help prepare him for it. We had a sweet lesson about
honoring the sabbath day, which turned into us teaching him about home
teaching. He seemed to be pretty excited about it. We are trying our
best to help these converts stay active after they are baptized..

I learned something that I am trying to apply lately.. When Adam and
Eve were in the Garden of Eden God gave them some commandments. in
Genesis 2:16-17 God said “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest
FREELY eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou
shalt not eat of it”. He showed them all of the great things they
could have. The whole garden was theirs! Except for the one tree. What
is the big deal with one tree though? They had a huge garden for
themselves!! Then we have satan who came in saying “Yea, hath God
said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”. Satan changed
their perspective. They no longer were thinking about all of the
amazing things that God had provided for them, but thought only of the
one thing he asked them not to do. I have seen myself doing that
sometimes with the commandments! I feel like we all do it. Sometimes
we get too focused on the things God asks us NOT to do, and we
completely miss the amazing things that we could be doing in stead of
complaining. My advice for the week? Don’t focus on the one tree you
are “missing out on”, when you have a garden full of blessings waiting
for you!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!